Bruce’s toughest battle of all

RECOVERY: Golden Square man Bruce Wright went into cardiac arrest twice during last year’s Tough Mudder event. Picture: DARREN HOWEWITH just a few kilometres left to goin one of Victoria’s toughest endurance events, Golden Square man Bruce Wright thought he could battle through crippling stomach pain.

The 50-year-oldhad already made it past 17 kilometres of the 2015 Tough Mudder event on Phillip Island in October, battling through thick mud and some of the toughest obstacles on earth.

The stomach pain was the only indicator of what was to come.

Next thing Bruce knew, he was being loaded into a helicopter on a stretcher.

“It’s amazing, but all I had was this one silly thought: I hope I paid my ambulance cover,” Bruce said.

But what really surprised the non-drinker, non-smoker was what had happened in those minutes between first falling into cardiac arrest, and the arrival of the helicopter.

Bruce had died twice.

His main arteries were blocked solid.

When he first collapsed to the ground, two other competitors saw the scene from the top of a hill.

They were Epworth HealthCare nurses Kaddy Fogarty and Adam Cuthbertson, who quickly grabbed a defibrillator and raced to Bruce’s aid.

Adam started compressions while Kaddy kept Bruce’s airways clear and out of the mud. A tough task, after a 17 kilometre run through almost solid mud.

A crowd had gathered as the pair worked on Bruce, managing to re-start his heart.

The cheers and applause from onlookers was short lived however, as Bruce fell into cardiac arrest for a second time.

He was resuscitated again and the helicopter arrived to take him to The Alfred.

Bruce underwent a triple bypass and remained in hospital for three weeks.

“I was really looking forward to seeing the new Star Wars, so I hoped I could pull through,” he said.

From the comfort of his lounge chair, Bruce underwent two blood infusions a day for five weeks.

He has now returned to work at Freedom Aged Care, telling his story to his many friends at the residential care community.

Bruce Wright thanks the two nurses who saved his life at last year’s Tough Mudder race – Kaddy Fogarty and Adam Cuthbertson.

But one of the most important steps of his recoverytook place on Monday last week.

Bruce visited Kaddy Fogarty and Adam Cuthbertson at Epworth Health, to thank the two nurses who saved his life that day on Phillip Island.

He continues to keep fit with a home gym, and is still confused at why his arteries had become blocked.

“There hadn’t been any history of cardiac arrest in our family, but it’s got to come down to genetics,” Bruce said.

Either way, he could thank his lucky stars the two nurses were nearby when disaster struck.

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